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College physics : reasoning and relationships 2nd Edition

College physics : reasoning and relationships 2nd Edition PDF

Author: Nicholas Giordano

Publisher: Cengage Learning


Publish Date: February 10, 2012

ISBN-10: 1111571376

Pages: 1056

File Type: PDF

Language: English

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Book Preface

Changing the Way Students View Physics
The relationships between physics and other areas of science are rapidly becoming stronger and are transforming the way all fields of science are understood and practiced. Examples of this transformation abound, particularly in the life sciences.
Many students of college physics are engaged in majors relating to the life sciences,
and the manner in which they need and will use physics differs from only a few
years ago. For their benefit, and for the benefit of students in virtually all technical
and even nontechnical disciplines, textbooks must place a greater emphasis on how
to apply the reasoning of physics to real-world examples. Such examples come quite
naturally from the life sciences, but many everyday objects are filled with good
applications of fundamental physics principles as well.

Goals of This Book
Reasoning and Relationships
Students often view physics as merely a collection of loosely related equations. We
who teach physics work hard to overcome this perception and help students understand how our subject is part of a broader science context. But what does “understanding” in this context really mean? Many physics textbooks assume understanding will result if a solid problem-solving methodology is introduced early and
followed strictly. Students in this model can be viewed as successful if they deal
with a representative collection of quantitative problems. However, physics education research has shown that students can succeed in such narrow problem-solving
tasks and at the same time have fundamentally flawed notions of the basic principles of physics. For these students, physics is simply a collection of equations and
facts without a firm connection to the way the world works. Although students do
need a solid problem-solving framework, I believe such a framework is only one
component to learning physics. For real learning to occur, students must know how
to reason and must see the relationships between the ideas of physics and their
direct experiences. Until the reasoning is sound and the relationships are clear, fundamental learning will remain elusive.
The central theme of this book is to weave reasoning and relationships into the
way we teach introductory physics. Three important results of this approach are
the following:
1. Early in the text, common student misconceptions about physics and how to
study are addressed.
2. Reasoning and relationships examples and problems coach students on how to
reason correctly.
3. A systematic approach to problem solving provides the model for how students
should approach quantitative problems.
1. Addressing Student Misconceptions. Many students come to their college
physics course with a common set of pre-Newtonian misconceptions about physics. I believe the best way to help students overcome these misconceptions is to address them directly and help students see where and how their preNewtonian ideas fail. Accordingly,

College Physics: Reasoning and Relationships devotes Chapter 2 to  a qualitative and conceptual discussion of Newton’s laws of motion and  what they tell us about the relationship between forces and motion.
The goal is to arm students with an  understanding of this relationship in  order to address many of their pre Newtonian misconceptions and prepare for the discussion of the application of those laws in Chapter 3  and beyond. Armed with an understanding of the proper relationship  between kinematics and _ forces,  students can then reason about a  variety of problems in mechanics,  providing instructors with the flexibility to introduce a wider variety of problems much sooner in the course.
This approach also presents students with a model for how to study  for a course in the sciences. Too  often, students believe that a focus on “formulas” and their application to a narrow set of drill problems results in understanding of the material. The  qualitative overview in Chapter 2 models for students the keys to the course: Begin with an understanding of key  physics principles, identify the relationships between those principles, and apply reason to the selection of equations  needed to solve quantitative problems, as well as analyze the solution itself.

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